Sunday, 4 August 2019

PODCAST REVIEW: Something Rhymes With Purple: Pumpernickel

This is the second time I have written about this lovely podcast from the meanderings of knowledge and anecdote of both Susie Dent and Gyles Brandreth. Ir's highly educational and very light-hearted and I don't listen to them anywhere near enough.

So, what better than to while away a little time on a very humid, and uninviting (weather-wise) Sunday afternoon, than to settle down with a cup of tea and listen to the latest in their series, the episode called 'Pumpernickel'.

For those who know, pumpernickel is a type of German bread, and derives its name from the words 'pumpen' (German 'to fart') + Nickel (German for the devil or a demon) - and so today the duo were talking about food. (not farting demons!)

To add to the 'atmosphere' and realism, this recording started with Brandreth talking about his giving up coffee due to having acid reflux, and was interrupted half-way through with Dent taking a delivery of school uniforms. The show was recorded live in Susie Dent's kitchen!

They chatted about breakfast being so called because it is the meal which break's ones nightly fasting, and continued to give us the origins of many traditional {bread and meat} to more fancy breakfast foods. From coffee (admittedly a drink not a food, but let's not split hairs!), and the many different types of coffee now available, through avocados [aztec testicles or lawyers?], pretzels ['folded arms'], biscuits ['twice cooked'], marmelade [from the Portuguese for 'quince'], to cereal. This derivation I found most fascinating. The word comes from the Goddess of Fertility and Agriculture, Ceres.  Muesli, however, we found out was a Swiss German dialectal diminutive for  "stewed fruit".

The pair are very chatty and get easily side-tracked. Dent especialy is an inherent giggler. This only makes the listening of these podcasts all the more human and affectionate. They are very good at egging each other on. - no, it doesn't come from eggs; this lovely little idiom is from the Viking, and means to incite or urge onwards.

The podcast lasted about 35 minutes and was crammed with information as we learned about the origins of certain types of cake, some Auustralian slang for certain foods, and answered the age-old debate of how to pronounce the word 'scone'. - and no, I'm not giving you the answer here!

The podcasts are a little like a radio version of QI without the obvious traps. Their aim to impart information - often quite unusual but always quite inetersting - about our wonderful English language, in a fun and accessible way; which they do with flying colours! I must remember to listen to their next one in the series as this promises to be about theatre and acting!

Reviewer - Matthew Dougall
on - 4/8/19

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